by Furry Girl
It's weird to occasionally hear people tell me I'm a great activist, or that I've written lots of helpful stuff about activism. It's weird because I generally don't identify as an activist at all, I don't feel like I have it all figured out, and have a long and problematic relationship to the concept of "activism." I will say that I am better than most activist-identified people at gaming out ideas and considering how well something is likely work in the long run, but that has not proven an in-demand skill in activist social scenes that thrive on the cult of "doing something," whatever that something is, whether or not it's effective at all. I believe that most activist-identified people are sorely lacking in both historical understandings of social change and the critical thinking skills required for really focusing only on the most strategic actions. Recently, someone asked me on Twitter what advice I'd have for new activists or people interested in getting involved in activism.
I openly admit it: I generally hate activists, activist subculture, and everything that is typically associated with activism. (All three of those external links should be considered required reading on the topic.) Anyone who is not themselves a part of the problem knows that activism is absolutely fucking insufferable, as it attracts many of the worst, dumbest, most mentally unstable people in the world - who all want to imagine themselves as heroes and saviors. So, not only are you battling for a political issue, but you're faced with a double burden of having to do so while dealing with activists themselves, like trying to run a marathon through a swamp. Because activism "has to" be inclusive, it welcomes everyone with open arms, despite whether or not they ever do anything objectively useful: the people who love wielding power by blocking consensus processes and causing constant infighting in a group, the over-the-top PC hysterics whose "contribution" to "activism" is lecturing everyone around them about why they are not enlightened enough, the people who derail every simple task into an exploration of ephemeral philosophical issues like "the need to examine gender roles," the people who have self-righteous fits about the need to "get out there and do something!" without ever stopping to think if that something is really going to help anything (or even make things worse), the people who only seem to drop by when there's a photo-op or something important happening, lifestyle protesters who drift around and latch onto any random cause without putting effort into understanding it, the larger groups that take public credit for the work of small grassroots groups, the people for whom "activism" is a mere performance to achieve status among their educated lefty friends, the people who steal funds from projects because they feel entitled to a little unofficial stipend here and there... I could go on and on.
I say this as someone for whom activism is not my social scene. I realize it's a different experience for people who, for reasons I have never understood, actually enjoy spending their time with activist-identified people. People can and do build their lives and families in activist cliques. Sure, I've made some genuine friends via activism, but we'll always be the two people snickering in the back of the room while other people do their best performances of being "heroes."
Activists are so fucking awful. It needs to be acknowledged more often.
This is where my important lesson comes in, because if you read my blog, you probably agree with a good bit of what I've written so far.
The most important lesson I could ever impart about activism is to remember that it's not about activists. It's about your cause. Never confuse the two, because they couldn't be more different from one another.
I realize that sounds like a no-brainer, but it's something I have struggled with for more than ten years, and something I've seen the best people also battle. I've gotten in fights with more activist-identified assholes and fame-seekers in more scenes in more cities than I can count, and there are so many times where my mind wants to jump to, "fuck you people, fuck this cause, I hope you all fall into a giant blender" and just leave them to keep going about their ego-boosting ineffectual nonsense.
I've gotten better at finding my own way, interacting only with small and select groups of people, and focusing my time on the things that I think will do the most for a cause, not for the "cause" of social status in activist cliques. Taking this sanity-preserving path means I generally work alone or in pairs, but the extra workload has always been more than balanced out by not needing to haul around dead weight. I hope that more people will take the same route (especially new folk who could be entirely spared the horrors of the activist subculture), and work on small, non-"inclusive" projects, where there is a narrow focus, a clearly stated mission and goal, no time wasted on debating the "true" meanings of abstract philosophical concepts, and above all, an emphasis on always putting the cause above activism.
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
More of me online
Enjoy my writing? I enjoy presents!
Buy SWAAY shirts:
Browse by topic
- (Anti-) Beauty Standards
- 80s Movies' Wisdom
- Add to Your Lexicon
- Advice for Sex Workers
- Allies and "Allies"
- Atheism / Religion
- Book Reviews
- Crab Mentality
- Events & Happenings
- Frequently Addressed Accusations
- Government & Law
- Infographics, Memes, & Ads
- Kink / BDSM
- Labor politics
- Leisure of the Theory Class
- Love & Relationships
- Nutters & Moralizers
- Other Political Issues
- Privacy & Anonymity
- Queer / Gender
- Seattle / WA Local
- Sex Toys & Products
- Sex Work
- Trafficking / "Rescue"
- Transitioning Out of Sex Work
- Violence Against Sex Workers
- Women as Oppressors
New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Kat's Stories
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sex Worker Pie Charts
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Whore Madonna